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Newsletter June 2012

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The Tide in Northern Ireland has changed

For a myriad of reasons, we believe Belfast Northern Ireland has turned a corner; the tide has changed.  For our own work we have many new opportunities.  Marda's pottery was in two group shows and next month we will attend the weeklong John Hewitt Society Summer School, an international writers’ workshop.  For the country there is a shared government and the fragile world economy makes working together imperative. 

"NI2012. Our time Our Place" advertising is everywhere.  Take a look at the website.  In March the Titanic Centre opened, the jewel of the Titanic Quarter and whereas the recession has stalled the full build-out of the Titanic Quarter, what's done looks great.  The Belfast Met (a junior college) and PRONI the national archives, the slipways, the paint hanger turned into film studios, hotel, condos, offices, the dry-dock and pump house, our friends at the Dock café, and the innovation science park are all open.  It's all full of hope.

The Queen's jubilee, her 60th year of reign, was celebrated with a two day holiday and bunting everywhere.  We watched the BBC tribute that Charles did for his mum.  He cited the most significant

accomplishment was Queen Elizabeth's visit to the Republic of Ireland last year.  She was f ull of grace and began her speech with a few words in Irish to the delight of many.  That was significant and this week Martin McGuiness as Deputy First Minister will welcome the Queen to Northern Ireland another milestone. 

We wrote in our March newsletter that this is the beginning of ten years of Centenaries.  So far they have redeemed the tragedy of the Titanic by highlighting the pride of industry in Belfast 100 years ago, while shedding the shame, and acknowledging the lost.  The international sources of so many of the names in the new memorial garden at City Hall honors a tragedy the world can mourn.  The Orange Order is planning a "march to Stormont" for the Ulster Covenant centenary in September.  We trust people to be sensitive to the shared future and not incite sectarianism.  This is something worth praying and talking about.  Marda was shocked a few days ago when a locally raised Catholic friend asked “What was the Ulster Covenant? confessing she was not too good about history.  Wow, different histories. 

We watched the Olympic torch carried two blocks from the house.  The Ulster Museum is open after years of renovation and is free.  The MAC opened with theatre and art galleries to cement the Cathedral Quarter as the 'arts district".  The new Lyric Theatre opened and the Ulster Hall is celebrating 150 years.  Giant's Causeway has a new visitors’ center.  So as we said Belfast and Northern Ireland is changing course and it is wonderful. 

Our current situation is waiting on new visas.  We don’t' expect any problems but anticipating a long wait we first made a trip.  We went to the Netherlands for five days and had a wonderful visit with the Hendersons riding on bicycles.  Swolle their town had a children's 10K walk and a marathon.  Two very pleasant surprises:  Inge Henderson is working on a degree in reading, so she can help us with the initiative Rev Lamb wants us to input to assist the Shankill Road area in the area of literacy.  The second is being introduced to www.artway.eu, an art resource set up by Marleen (Rookmaaker) and Laurel Gasque.

Our prayer request will be included in the CTEN August prayer calendar, which is sent with CTEN receipts.  The prayer calendar is also posted on the CTEN website which we download for our daily prayers.  Belfast NI has turned for a myriad of reasons.  Pray for fruitful ministry to revive the church in the Shankill and Falls Road areas that believers may influence the kingdom of God here on earth.Our prayer is that we positively impact the changed course. 

Thank you for your interest in our work.  Come and see for yourselves.

Email: wardstothers@cten.org
Phone: (028) 90 291986  From U.S. 01144.2890.291986

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